AT&T, Verizon refuse request to delay 5G rollout

Jan 2, 2022

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

AT&T and Verizon have refused a request by federal officials to delay the launch of their new 5G wireless systems. That request came in the form of a Dec. 31 letter to the telecom giants from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.

The letter asked the two companies to pause the introduction of their 5G service, scheduled to launch on Jan. 5. At issue is the much-discussed potential for the frequency, known as C-band, to potentially interfere with aircraft operations.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

Although some studies have shown that 5G does, in fact, interfere with vital aircraft altimeter readings, the telecom industry remains unconvinced.

The altimeter readings become key for pilot approaches in low visibility situations like when fog settles in over San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Radio altimeters are an important tool for pilots during low-visibility landings. (Photo by Martin Von Castell/EyeEm/Getty Images)

In fact, the day before the letter from Buttigieg and Dickson was sent, an airline trade group filed an emergency request to the Federal Communications Commission regarding the 5G rollout.

Related: Airline industry study warns of massive impacts if FAA’s 5G directive takes effect

Today’s response from AT&T and Verizon does leave some room for compromise. The two company CEOs offered their own limited counterproposal. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, they agreed to reduce the power of their service for six months to the levels currently authorized in France (one of several countries where 5G is already in use).

“If U.S. airlines are permitted to operate flights every day in France, then the same operating conditions should allow them to do so in the United States,” said the letter signed by AT&T CEO John Stankey and Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg.

Related: What happens when you don’t put your phone on airplane mode?

The compromise, said the executives, would allow U.S. authorities to conduct further studies regarding the possible adverse effects the new technology is having on air traffic.

Featured image of cockpit by zhihao/Getty Images. 

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.